Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan would not confirm or deny reports that he had been chosen by President Benigno Aquino 3rd to head the newly-created Philippine Competitive Commission (PCC).
He admitted though that he was nominated for the post last year.
The Manila Times on Thursday reported that the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) chief will soon leave his post to head the PCC, a body created under the landmark Fair Competition Act or Republic Act 10667.
A highly-placed government source said the PCC post will be a reward for Balisacan’s contributions to the Aquino Administration.
Balisacan, however, disagreed, saying if the report was true, his appointment to the PCC will be an opportunity, not a reward.
As PCC chairman, he will have a seven-year term.
Under the law, the commission will have four commissioners and an executive director.
“Announcements like these would be better left to Malacañang,” Balisacan told reporters.
When asked if he was aware of the PCC post beforehand, the Cabinet official replied in the affirmative, saying he was consulted about it last year after the passage of the law in July.
“Yes I know, because as far as I know… they do background check and interviews, to look at the right people [to appoint]. Usually, if they would appoint you, they will consult you first,” Balisacan said.
“What happened in the consultation was there was a nomination, there are those who nominated me, wanted to know if I had interest. That was last year, after the passage of the law. But I never took those seriously until things happened because I had so much to do here and actually my priority is to effect a smooth transition to the next administration,” he explained.
“In any position, the primary basis should be your qualifications, and your competence. There should be objective basis for appointments. You do not get appointed simply because you were rewarded. In any government agency, that should not be the case,” Balisacan said.
“That is why if there is a reward, I would like to see it as a ‘thank you,’ but [not]when you were asked to lead an organization. It has always been my philosophy, when I take a position, I see it as an opportunity or as a privilege and responsibility. So you must have the qualities that are needed in the position,” he added.
“In this particular case, you are starting an organization that is new. Very challenging. The qualities for the head are spelled out in the law… integrity, experience, leadership. So that is my take. Whenever I appoint people, I look at the most competent person around and try to attract that person as much as I can. That way, you can deliver effectively the mandate of the agency,” Balisacan said.